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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the gut microbiome

Final Report Summary - PCOS MICROBIOME (Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the gut microbiome)

Background:
The polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), consisting of anovulation, is the leading cause of infertility and affects up to 10% of reproductive age women. While PCOS has been extensively studied in the last two decades, the precise mechanisms leading to the clinical complex of PCOS have remained enigmatic to a large extent. It has been shown that diet and physical activity improve the state of women with PCOS and reduce the metabolic syndrome like characteristics and this is often the treatment. Studies in the new field of microbiome research focus on the composition of overall microorganisms in our body and their impacts on our health. Changes in the composition of the gut microbiota (dysbiosis) have been linked with different health states such as pregnancy, obesity, IBD, metabolic syndrome, etc. and have been associated with low grade inflammation and reduced insulin sensitivity. Since it has been shown that the microbiome is affected by both diet and host hormones and in return affects our health status, we believe there is a strong link between the gut microbiome composition, diet, and PCOS.
Methods:
Our methods include dietary intervention, collection of fecal samples, DNA extraction and PCR amplification, sequencing and identification of 16S rRNA sequences, statistical analyses, clinical measures, microbiota transfer experiments into germ-free mice, and metabolomics.
Results:
We have tested and analyzed the microbiota of a sample group of lean PCOS subjects vs. controls, and found distinct differences between groups. Metabolomic analysis did not result in significant differences and more samples should be tested. We have also conducted a germ free fecal transplant experiment and are currently conducting more transplants to be able to achieve statistical significance. Two more sample collection agreements were signed: one with Tel Hashomer and one the Federal Almazov North-West Medical Research Centre in Saint Petersburg for the collection of more samples.
Conclusions:
Women with PCOS have differences in composition of gut microbiota. Understanding the meaning of these changes helps us gain insights into the mechanism of PCOS.

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